Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fox Confessor

Once upon a time, on the coldest day of the year,
a little red fox sat on the snow.
Before him, at the edge of a grove of frozen trees,
was a black-haired woman with the darkest, most bewitching eyes
that the fox had ever seen.

"I have black tea," called the fox,
"and I have black bread.
Come share them with me,
or you will soon be dead."

The woman at the edge of the grove
of frozen trees waved her hand,
and the sun, already weak, began to melt
right into her hand.
"What good is your tea," she asked the fox,
"without company?
What good is your loaf
without butter fresh and sweet?"

"I have fur," called the fox,
"and a sable blanket on my burrow bed.
Come share them with me,
Or you will soon be dead."

"Perhaps you are right," sighed the one so dusky and fair.
"Come here and I will tell you a secret;
Be quick, for it is the coldest day of the year...
I cannot walk and can no longer move,
But I will share this butter for your bread
and tell my secret in your ear."

Very slowly, the little fox came close,
with the tiniest steps and the most hesitant tread.
The fox meant to have both butter and bread,
And tea and secret, before the lady was dead.

The woman at the edge
of the grove of frozen trees implored,
"Come faster, dear fox,
come close, let us talk,
For I have but a single breath more."
Never confess to a fox, they say,
but more important than that,
Never trust a lady whose secret desires 
are tea, a loaf,
and a new fox fur hat.

My little poem has as its inspirations, the top photograph by Richard Schear and the Russian folk tale of the Fox Confessor. In the tale, a fox tries to talk a rooster down from a tree by pretending to be concerned for the rooster's soul. "Come confess to me," urges the fox, who only wants to eat the rooster.


Sioux said...

What a delightful, tale. I have only seen one fox, in the wild, and it was a spiritual experience.

ellen abbott said...

ah, fairy tales where things are never as they seem.

Cloudia said...

Not a word
out of place.

You are the best poet I know.

Warm Aloha from Hawaii
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Cloudia said...

you are aware I think of the shape shifting foxes and ghost women in Japan. . .

Totoro, anyone?

Warm Aloha from Hawaii
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Susie Clevenger said...

I love this tale!!

Brian Miller said...

nice...depending on your interpretation the fox stands for cunning, slyness...even in medieval periods it stood for the devil...

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful twist to the tale and a great story to go with that picture.

Matt D said...

The poor little fox ... he fell for a femme fatale!

Isadora Gruye said...

Love the title! and the story you spun to boot. What I admire most about your writing is that you are always one to try out new forms, styles etc. You go boldly forth to conjure up poems, where as I may be meekly gazing at my shoes waiting for the same thing to arrive at my feet. lovely work here lady

HermanTurnip said...'s like an Aesop's Fable. How traumatic and touching, just like childhood.

Mama Zen said...

Oh, you can tell a story! Love this, Shay.

LL Cool Joe said...

I found a dead fox in the back garden last week, she could have had that one! She might have needed to get rid of some maggots first. :D

hedgewitch said...

Hard to tell which is more devious, or least to be trusted--those pictures are perfectly illustrated in this tale of cold cold hearts. The sense of freeze and shadows is superb here.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I read this on my phone first thing this morning.. and what a tale! I know one bad turn deserves another, but I was rooting for the fox..

Fireblossom said...

Well....I don't come right out and say that she got him, only that she wanted to. Maybe he was crafty enough to slip away! I kind of hope that he did.

Daryl Edelstein said...

Oh that fox was not so smart as he thought .. beware dark eyed women

Scarlet said...

Ha! Outfoxing a clever.

Jinksy said...

A tale (tail ?) of a foxy lady! LOL Great story.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh, what a clever fox-tale. Loved it.

Kay L. Davies said...

Like Kerry, I was rooting for the fox, too. I've never seen one in person, so they're not vermin to me, but lovely redhaired animals.
I love your retelling of the old story, using the frosted trees as your prompt.
Beautifully done, my dear Shay!

Lolamouse said...

Maybe the fox got a lady hat out of the encounter?

Kathy Bischoping said...

Nicely done! A fox picking its way through snow is magical. I have remembered one of those for maybe 20 years now.

Anonymous said...

He met his match, sweet. I laughed out loud.

Margaret said...

Oh, well, she can just do without that hat! :)